Filipacchi, Amanda 1967–
Filipacchi, Amanda 1967–
ADDRESSES: Agent—Melanie Jackson, 250 W. 57th St., Ste. 1119, New York, NY 10107.
CAREER: Novelist, 1993–.
Nude Men, Viking (New York, NY), 1993.
Vapor: A Novel, Carroll and Graf (New York, NY), 1999.
Love Creeps, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Novelist Amanda Filipacchi turned her master's thesis in creative writing at Columbia University into her first book, Nude Men. The bizarre, tragicomic story of a male fact-checker asked to pose nude for a feminist painter, Nude Men has brought Filipacchi favorable reviews and comparisons to another young female author, Tama Janowitz.
Filipacchi was born in 1967, in Paris, France. With an American mother and a French father, she often traveled back and forth between France and the United States and retains dual citizenship in both nations. She began writing at the age of thirteen, and she confessed to Phoebe Hoban in New York magazine that her early work resembled a novel by Bret Easton Ellis. "My first stories were American Psycho-type horror stories. I liked to provoke strong feelings in people." She penned three novels during the course of her adolescence, remarking to Hoban, "I just filled the pages with anything that entered my mind."
She plotted Nude Men more carefully, however, and attracted an agent and a publisher. Kristine McKenna in the Los Angeles Times Book Review was disturbed by the character of an eleven-year-old seductress who eventually dies in a car accident. Other reviewers, however, were more complimentary. Greg Johnson in the Chicago Tribune hailed Nude Men as "relentlessly inventive and original," citing Filipacchi's "extraordinary sense of the absurd, her gift for deadpan irony and an underlying humanity that allows her to grant her characters fullness and credibility." Similarly, Elizabeth Devereaux in the Village Voice called the book "that rare commodity—a truly clever first novel, one that makes you feel clever as you read it."
Filipacchi's Vapor: A Novel is reminiscent of Pygmalion with a modern twist. The Eliza Doolittle character is Anna Graham, an aspiring actress with no confidence who works at a copy shop and pierces ears. When she rescues Damon Wetley, an eccentric scientist, he becomes her Henry Higgins, except that he keeps her in a cage while teaching her the craft of acting. When Anna does well, he gives her gifts. When she does poorly, he pelts her with ice. Although Anna becomes involved with another man who seems to be the perfect catch, it is Damon to whom she is firmly connected. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that Filipacchi's "energetic originality never falters, and her unforgiving eye for the fluidity of human weakness never blinks."
In Love Creeps, attractive art gallery owner Lynn Gallagher is being stalked by Alan Morton, who spied her at the gym. Lynn, who has not experienced passion for some time, is more curious than upset by the balding, slightly overweight Alan, to whom she is not attracted, and decides to pick a subject and become a stalker herself. She chooses Roland Dupont, an attractive lawyer who at first lacks warmth toward Lynn, and Alan devises a plan involving the three of them that brings unexpected consequences. A fourth character is a psychologist, now homeless, who gives advice. A Kirkus Reviews contributor described Love Creeps as "a surreal comedy of manners that's also a surprisingly penetrating work of psychological fiction."
Filipacchi told CA that her primary goal as an author is "to offer a new perception of reality, and to entertain." She also noted, "I have not been influenced much" by other authors. "Maybe slightly by Raymond Queneau and Flann O'Brien. They have shown me that there should be no limit to what you allow yourself to do in fiction, and that you should not feel restricted to writing realism. The authors I admire the most are Marcel Proust, Victor Hugo, and Emile Zola."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 2005, Kristine Huntley, review of Love Creeps, p. 1569.
Chicago Tribune, June 27, 1993, Greg Johnson, review of Nude Men, section 14, pp. 1-2, 7.
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2005, review of Love Creeps, p. 3004.
Library Journal, May 1, 1993, review of Nude Men, p. 115.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, July 25, 1993, Kristine McKenna, review of Nude Men, p. 10.
New York, June 14, 1993, Phoebe Hoban, interview with Filipacchi, p. 30.
Publishers Weekly, April 12, 1993, review of Nude Men, p. 45; May 29, 1999, review of Vapor: A Novel, p. 92; May 2, 2005, review of Love Creeps, p. 175.
Time, May 31, 1999, Michele Orecklin, review of Vapor, p. 99.
Village Voice, June 22, 1993, Elizabeth Devereaux, review of Nude Men, pp. 85-86.
Amanda Filipacchi Home Page,http://www.amandafilipacchi.com (January 20, 2006).